2017-18 Calgary Flames Top Ten Prospects
The Flames have done an excellent job of drafting and developing. Their top four defense is arguably the best in the NHL, and they have elite roster players 22-years-old or younger in Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, and Matt Tkachuk.
Ranking the top ten prospects was a challenging exercise, not because they are shallow on prospects, but because you can make an argument to rank a number one any of the top six or seven.
The Flames have quality and quantity of young talent throughout the organization which has allowed them the ability to package draft picks for NHL defensemen in Dougie Hamilton and Travis Hamonic.
Players eligible for these rankings include prospects under 25 years of age with less than 50 career NHL games played.
1. Juuso Valimaki, D – Tri-City (WHL)
Drafted: 16th overall in the first round of the 2017 draft by Calgary
The Flames top pick in the past draft oozes potential. He has size, is a strong skater with speed and agility, and can handle the puck offensively. With two WHL seasons already under his belt, he is well adjusted to North America. As a late birthday, he has only one more year of junior eligibility remaining before he turns pro. With the depth the Flames boast on defense there is no rush on Valimaki. So expect some pro adjustment in the AHL following this season before he challenges for a top four role in the NHL.
2. Tyler Parsons, G – London (OHL)
Drafted: 54th overall in the second round of the 2016 draft by Calgary
All this kid does is win big games. Parsons backstopped the powerhouse London Knights to a dominating Memorial Cup Championship and followed that up with a WJC Gold Medal win with USA. Parsons will turn pro this year and seek to add a Calder Cup to his trophy cabinet. He should play a year or two in the AHL before he is ready for the NHL, but he has franchise starting goalie upside.
3. Jon Gillies, G – Stockton (AHL)
Drafted: 75th overall in the third round of the 2012 draft
Missing all but seven games of the 2015-16 season certainly hurt his development, but he had a strong bounce back season playing in 39 AHL regular season games and made his NHL debut winning the one game he played last year. The 23-year-old will probably be the Stockton starting goalie again for one last season unless the combination of Mike Smith and Eddie Lack falters…which is a real possibility.
4. Mark Jankowski, C – Stockton (AHL)
Drafted: 21st overall in the first round of the 2012 draft by Calgary
Calgary knew they would need to be patient with Jankowski when they drafted him and they have been. Jankowski played four years of NCAA hockey before playing his first full season as a pro last year. He played in 64 games scoring 27 goals and 56 points and was rewarded with his NHL debut. The 23-year-old is ready to make a real push to make the Flames roster – possibly he could push veteran Matt Stajan out of the rotation.
5. Rasmus Andersson, D – Stockton (AHL)
Drafted: 53rd overall I the second round of the 2015 draft by Calgary
The junior scoring star defenseman had a quick transition to pro. Andersson was able to translate his junior scoring prowess to the pro level with 22 points as a rookie. What bodes well for Andersson is his defensive game isn’t a liability. His strong play earned him his NHL debut where he played 18:33 minutes, but has yet to register his first career point. The Flames may have one roster spot up for grabs on the blue line, and it’s not out of the question for Andersson to make the team as a 20-year-old.
6. Adam Fox, D – Harvard (NCAA)
Drafted: 66th overall in the third round of the 2016 draft by Calgary
Perhaps one of the more underrated prospects in the NHL, Fox had a breakout season as a Harvard freshman winning All-Star, Rookie of the Year and an ECAC Championship, as well as a WJC Gold Medal with USA. With 40 points in 35 games as a rookie, he has little to prove back at Harvard, but he will return for his sophomore season.
7. Spencer Foo, RW – Union (NCAA)
Drafted: Undrafted, signed as a free agent in 2017
Foo signed as an undrafted free agent after completing his academic career at Union where he had a breakout senior year with 62 points in 38 games. The 23-year-old was a standout during the Penticton Young Stars Tournament. With a strong training camp, Foo could not only win a job on the Flames but could spend time on a line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.
8. Oliver Kylington, D – Stockton (AHL)
Drafted: 60th overall in the second round of the 2015 draft by Calgary
The offensive Swedish defenseman has been cutting his teeth in the AHL for the past two seasons as a teenager. His skating and offensive skills are NHL ready and his forte, but his defensive game has been identified as a development opportunity. His defensive game has improved, but he likely spends one more year in the AHL playing top minutes and developing his overall game.
9. Andrew Mangiapane, LW – Stockton (AHL)
Drafted: 166th overall in the sixth round of the 2015 draft by Calgary
The two time 100+ point producer for Barrie in the OHL had a smooth transition to pro hockey posting 20 goals and 41 points in 66 games as a rookie. The undersized winger plays a physical and high energy style of game, racking up 64 penalty minutes. He is a quick player that moves in and out of coverage and reads plays well. More AHL development is needed, but Mangiapane is developing nicely.
10. Dillon Dube, C – Kelowna (WHL)
Drafted: 56th overall in the second round of the 2016 draft by Calgary
Dube is a little on the small side but could develop into a productive third line NHL winger. He has speed, plays an aggressive high energy game, and has some offensive upside. Dube has one more year of junior eligibility to play out before he starts his pro career, where he may need a few years in the AHL to round out his game.